The Helm Men’s Website Design Dos and Don’ts

UX + UI DESIGNER, PRODUCT DESIGNERIf you’re reading this, you’re on 43North.org; that means you are living the web experience created by the men of Helm: Nick, Jonathan, and JB. They’re some of our incubator favorites–not only are they incredibly bright and tech-savvy, but they humored us and allowed this photoshoot to take place. What more could you ask for, really?

For those of you unfamiliar, Helm is a design company that specializes in helping businesses create unforgettable user experiences. Pre-pictures, they divulged some website tips and cautions; most are serious and one’s a joke…we’ll let you figure out which.

 

DO

Understand who your audience is. Before you can make a successful website, it’s crucial to know who you’re talking to, and act accordingly. Without understanding your viewers, all efforts to reach them and engage them will be in vain.

DON’T

Be long-winded with your copy. The saying ‘less is more’ really applies here. If you write too much, expect to be scrolled past without a second glance.

DO

Collect and use only high-quality photography and imagery. That’s right! One cellphone picture, and your image could be ruined. Not really, but Nick does advise steering far away from cellphone and similarly low-quality pictures. They detract from the website’s appeal and make you look illegitimate.

DON’T

Embed auto-play music. Preach, Nick. Preach. Who enjoys when a website opens and instantly hits you in the face with strange elevator music? No one. It’s all very Myspace-y and tacky, not to mention unpleasant.

DO

Understand how people are finding your site and the devices on which they are viewing it. Screen size matters. You want to know through which avenues people are being directed to you. With that, you need to optimize your designs to look best given the expected medium of viewing.

DON’T

Launch a pop-up that asks for personal information prior to website access.  When you ask for something right away, people feel unmotivated to continue on into the  depths of the website. Users don’t like to be forced into giving away information–let them give it on their own. As people who date say, “if they’re not interested in you, then you don’t want them, anyways.”

DO

Focus on bold and clear headlines. This is how you garner interest in a post. Grab someone’s attention, and be concise while doing it. The title’s how you reel them in–so don’t ruin it with a confusing or lengthy approach.

DON’T

Put the call to action before the value proposition. Before you nudge viewers to apply, to buy, to give, make sure you first establish a clear and compelling presentation of what’s in it for them, what you have to offer, etc. In other words, don’t ask for any favors until the value you provide them is unquestionable.

DO

Know what purpose you want your site to serve. Ask yourself prior to each new addition: Does this serve that goal? Websites are tools, but it’s easy to get distracted by all the bells and whistles that can be applied now. Don’t lose sight of the intended purpose, and ALWAYS test your messaging, layouts, etc. before posting.

And finally, the crown jewel…

DON’T

Post your SSN on your website. Amazing. ‘Nuf said.

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If you want the Helm men to design a website or experience for your business that’s as cool as ours or lloyd (they do that, too), you can check them out here.